Play­ing or not, he’s been a big in­flu­ence since day he ar­rived

Nottingham Post - - SPORT -

AI­TOR Karanka says Clau­dio Yacob is an “im­por­tant” fig­ure for Not­ting­ham For­est - whether he is play­ing or not.

The Ar­gen­tine mid­fielder had to be pa­tient for his op­por­tu­nity, af­ter ar­riv­ing at the City Ground as a free agent back in Septem­ber.

Yacob, 31, has now es­tab­lished him­self in the first-team squad and will be in­volved – ei­ther in the start­ing XI or on the bench – as the Reds face Pre­ston to­day.

But Karanka says the for­mer West Brom player has al­ways been a big in­flu­ence at the club, from day one of his ar­rival.

“He is re­ally im­por­tant and was im­por­tant even when he was not play­ing,” said Karanka, of Yacob, who has made three Cham­pi­onship starts and one sub ap­pear­ance for the Reds.

“He has ex­pe­ri­ence, he is a char­ac­ter in the dress­ing room, he is a leader.

“You can feel that he is an in­flu­ence, even when he was not in the team.

“Now, it is easy to say how good he is, be­cause peo­ple have seen him [play].

“But when he was not play­ing, he was still a real char­ac­ter on the train­ing ground.

“He was al­ways try­ing to push the play­ers and to teach the younger play­ers.

“I think he was a very good sign­ing for the club and for the team.”

Yacob pre­vi­ously made 149 starts and 26 sub ap­pear­ances for the Bag­gies in all com­pe­ti­tions, dur­ing six years at the Hawthorns, in which he es­tab­lished him­self as an im­por­tant player for them in the Premier League.

He had pre­vi­ously built his rep­u­ta­tion dur­ing six years play­ing with the Rac­ing Club first team in his home­land, af­ter com­ing through the youth sys­tem there.

Clau­dio Yacob, right, cel­e­brates For­est’s se­cond goal against Hull last month, with Ten­dayi Darikwa, Joe Lol­ley and Matty Cash

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